On-Page Ranking Factors

What Are On-Page Ranking Factors?

Ranking factors have an impact on a web page’s chance of showing up in organic search engine results. Likewise, on-page ranking factors are factors associated with content, keywords, and other information you can find on the page you’re trying to rank. All of the ranking factors combined together help deliver more traffic to the web page and increase visibility.

Main On-Page Ranking Factors

On-page ranking factors are many, from high-quality content itself to all the metadata regarding the content. However, several on-page ranking factors far supersede all the others in how valuable they are to the web page. They are:

All of the ranking factors above need to paint a clear picture of what the web page is all about. They need to be in line with one another for search engines to be able to understand what to rank the page for.


Content is the heart and soul of almost every web page on the internet. It’s the reason why visitors come to a webpage in the first place — they need valuable content that satisfies their needs or solves their pain points.

Whether content is valuable or not is up for search engines to decide. Their algorithms rank content based on relevance, at least as far as on-page ranking factors are concerned. For a search engine to tell if the content is good or not, it needs keywords. Related keywords show search engines that content on one page is hyper-relevant and specific.

Providing high-quality content that the algorithm can understand and rank higher than competing content is the core principle of on-page SEO. However, focusing solely on search engines is not advisable. In the past, site owners engaged in black hat SEO activities such as keyword stuffing in an attempt to game search engines and rank higher based on nothing but the sheer quantity of keywords. That doesn’t work, and it can get you a penalization from Google.

Nowadays, it’s common knowledge that you need to create content with users in mind. That means supplying a demand (i.e., making content that users want), removing unnecessary entry bars (such as logins or paywalls), and making the content accessible to everyone.

When web pages put their users in the forefront and use keywords naturally, search engines are bound to pick up on that. Content is one of the main on-page ranking factors, but it’s also the most important one. Without it, the rest of the ranking factors have little meaning.

Title Tag

The title tag is a snippet of text that shows up in search engine results. Page title, or meta title as it’s called, shows search engines and users alike what they’ll find on the page if they click on it. A page title is the second most important on-page ranking factor after content.

A title tag needs to read naturally and to be relevant to the content. Avoid stuffing the title tag with keywords, as Google can actually choose to replace an inappropriate or overly long title tag with something more relevant.

Make your title tags up to 60 characters long (or 600 pixels wide). If you exceed the limit, it’s possible that the search engine will truncate the title tag.

It’s best to include the most important keyword in your title tags and end them with the brand name. Separate different sections of your title tags using vertical bars.

Good Example: On-Page Ranking Factors | Play Media

Bad Example: Ranking Factors – On-Page Ranking Factors – SEO – Content Optimization

URL Structure

A good URL structure needs to show a clear and understandable hierarchy of a website. Here’s an example of a good URL structure:


The URL above makes it abundantly clear what the web page is about. It also shows what its place in the website’s hierarchy is. Search engines can infer useful data from such a URL without even looking at the content. Now take a look at an example of a less than useful URL structure:


Neither search engines nor users can derive anything even remotely intelligible from cryptic URL structures.

Image Alt Text

Alternative or alt text is an HTML attribute that’s used to describe the contents of an image in case it didn’t load properly for one reason or the other. Screen readers also use alt text to describe the image to the visually impaired. That makes image alt text a pillar of website accessibility.

However, image alt text has SEO value, which is why it’s among on-page ranking factors. That’s because you can add keywords to your alt texts, although, they should fit naturally. A good alt text will be highly descriptive and specific. Make it detailed enough for a person reading the alt text (or hearing it) to be able to picture the image in their head.

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